With the newest expansion of Hearthstone, the Boomsday Project, dropping tomorrow I thought I would take a look at how the new cards might impact the only game mode that really matters: the Arena.
I’ve learned it’s pretty pointless to try to evaluate which classes will see a boost in the expansion, and that lesson seems doubly important now that cards are separated into different drafting tiers. Where Blizzard decides to “bucket” these cards will be one of the biggest factors. Once that information is released, it should be a little easier to try to figure that out. Even still, it’ll be a few months until we know for sure.
So, instead, I’m going to make some more confident predictions by looking at what I deem to be the top cards of the expansion. Let’s dive on in.
Dendrologist – The stats on this are good (the rule of thumb for stats on a card is its cost, times two, plus one), in this case getting a 2/3 for 2 is more than okay. But the ability to discover a spell if you have a treant on board, which doesn’t seem too hard, is a big boost. If you get an Ultimate Infestation you pretty much win the game and most of Druid’s spells can have a pretty big impact.
Gloop Sprayer – I’m a little torn on this card. On one hand, the stats are terrible. On the other, the effect is insane. Adding potentially three bodies on turn eight is straight up game winning against classes with no board clears and will pull you back in the game when you’re behind. If you’re ahead, this is a huge win more card. Some games, you’ll be unable to play this and it will sit in your hand, but you’ll likely have lost those games anyways playing Druid.
Tending Tauren – Spending six mana for a 3/4 body isn’t very good, but this cards ability to either give you an extra 4/4 in stats or the ability to cast power of the wild on a full board is pretty nice. Essentially, this card seems like a bulkier Grim Necromancer, which we learned was a pretty good card over the past few expansions.
Bomb Toss – Reach? Check. Face damage? Check. Card to play on early turns? Check. With all of that, this would be a pretty good card, but leaving a token on the board that’s a mech that does MORE face damage when it dies? That’s pretty damn good.
Spider Bomb – A three mana 2/2 isn’t great, but this card has an insane deathrattle and can get magnetized to another mech (like the goblin bomb from the above card) is great.
Venomizer – We learned stubborn gastropod is a great card and this card is pretty similar. Though it doesn’t have taunt, it can get added to another mech (goblin bomb!), which I think is a pretty good trade off. You can play this on two to get ahead on the board and it’ll either draw removal or trade with any three drop.
Cybertech Chip – One of Hunter’s biggest issues is that it doesn’t have any means of reliable card draw. Cybernetic chip helps to fix that, allowing you to add mechs back to your hand when your minions die. Infest, a similar card, was never great, but this card is one mana cheaper and plays into the mech synergy that Hunter seems to have a lot of.
Shooting Star – Just what Mage needed, more cheap removal spells. With the addition of several spell damage cards in this set, Shooting Star might be very OP.
Astromancer – Speaking of overpowered, we have one of the strongest cards in the set and one that’s sure to get nerfed. A seven mana 5/5 is not good, but you’re going to be adding another four or five drop most of the time when you play this. Spiteful Summoner, a very similar card, had to be nerfed to eight mana. I don’t think this one will get the same treatment as it shouldn’t be as prevalent on the ladder, but I feel that arena players are going to be begging for it.
Research Project – This is the only project card that I think really benefits Mage because it allows them to dig for more removal spells and Mage’s big weakness is typically getting ground down and running out of cards. This mitigates that. It might not be great, but if the meta settles the right way this could be their strongest card.
Astral Rift – Paying four mana to draw two cards isn’t great, but Mage getting random minions already seems like a nightmare to me. I’m pre-emptively rating this higher than I probably should be because I’m seeing the future where my opponent gets an insane minion that was his only chance to win the game from this spell. I hate it already.
Auto Defense Matrix – Speaking of cards I hate already, Paladin adds another one that I feel will make it very hard to figure out which secret to play around. Similar to Mage getting Explosive Runes, this card should make it a nightmare any time you hear that secret sound come up against Paladin. It’s not overpowered, but combined with the rest of the cards in the set, it’s very annoying.
Annoy O Module – See what I did there? While we’re talking about annoying cards, this one literally has that descriptor right in the name. This card would be a real piece of shit in it’s own right, but the fact that it can get magnetized to other mechs to immediately give them four life and divine shield makes it very good.
Glow Tron – This is one of the cards that makes the previous card a potential piece of shit candidate. Having a very cheap mech with great stats should help paladin get their buffs in play to control the board.
Glowstone Technician – I’ve gone back and forth on this card. First, I thought it was pretty busted. Then I thought it might be too slow. Now I’ve settled somewhere in the middle. The stats are obviously bad, but getting an immediate +2/+2 on to all minions in your hand seems like it flat out wins the game most of the time you’re playing it. I also expect this card to get underbucketed, since bad players will pick it, use it poorly, and lose. I think you’ll see this card a lot in the hands of good players in the above seven wins area of the arena ladder.
Omega Medic – This card isn’t great, but Priest didn’t get very many good cards this expansion so I’m definitely reaching here. A three mana 3/4 has great stats, which is something, and this can potentially heal your hero late in the game. I know, I get it, that’s not good. But Priest really did get shit.
Cloning Device – This card is also pretty bad, but it’s the best of a bad bunch. Paying two mana to discover a minion isn’t great, BUT, you will get to see three cards in your opponents deck and you will get to use one of their cards against them. In the hands of the right players, this could be good.
Extra Arms – This is the best card Priest got in this expansion. In some classes, it wouldn’t be good, but in the hands of Priest it can snowball out of control and help you win some games very early if your opponent doesn’t have a way to remove a minion you’ve buffed twice.
Violet Haze – Rogue, much like Priest, doesn’t seem to have gotten a ton of support this expansion so I’m working with a little bit lower of a bar here. That said, any card that generates cards is usually pretty good and this card will give you two that have some potentially strong effects. Though you will occasionally miss, you’ll also occasionally pull an Obsidian Statue or another insane card that might flip the game for you completely.
Crazed Chemist – Usually, adding a spell to a minion body is pretty good (see: Vilespine Slayer), so allowing a minion to have a free cold blood seems great. If you’re playing for tempo you can squeeze out some great trades with existing bodies and if you’re playing an aggro style you get more face damage.
Necrium Blade – I’m not sure this card is actually good because it’s pretty situational, but I’d probably still draft it if it didn’t have any text at all. It’s effect though, is pretty crazy. Triggering a minion’s deathrattle three times provides a ton of value and on the right minions it will completely snowball the game out of control. I don’t think this breaks the arena of anything, but it will be very fucking annoying.
Menacing Nimbus – Again, any cards that generate more cards are pretty much always good. So a two mana 2/2 that adds an elemental to your hand seems great. Tortollan Forager, a similar card, is terrific and I see no reason this won’t be as well.
Elementary Reaction – Paying two mana for two cards is a steal. Though you need to meet a condition to do it, it’s not all that hard in Shaman (especially with a two mana elemental that gives you another elemental). The right card off of this can swing the game and the pool of terrible/unplayable cards is pretty thin.
Beakered Lightning – AoE spells are almost always good. This spell costs zero and is extremely flexible. It will be good if it doesn’t get tossed into the same bucket as Shaman’s premium AoE spells like Volcano and Lightning Storm.
Omega Agent – A five mana 4/5 isn’t all that great, but if you play this with a full set of mana crystals you suddenly gain a HUGE amount of board presence. Ten mana for 12/15 in stats spread across three bodies is crazy good value.
Spirit Bomb – Dealing four damage to a minion for two mana is good. I don’t really care about the loss of life, especially because it activates a few other cards in Warlock. If I’m choosing between this and shadow bolt (a great card), I’m probably taking this.
Soul Infusion – One mana for a 2/2 buff seems good, even if you can’t control where it lands. That would be more troublesome in constructed, but in the arena stats are stats.
Doubling Imp – Though if you do manage to hit it on the right card, like this one, suddenly you’re paying one mana for +4/+4. Even if you don’t manage to hit this card with any buffs, you still get 4/4 in stats for three mana, which is great.
Eternium Rover – See Glow Tron for why I think this is good. Plus this has the small added bonus of adding armor, which isn’t something that will move the needle, but might keep you alive if you can add add a big pile of stats to this with magnetic.
Omega Assembly – One mana add three cards to your hand is always good.
Security Rover – I’m already very annoyed by this card. If it manages to stick and get something magnetized to it, games are going to be a nightmare. If Berrylium Nullifier somehow ends up attached to this, I’m going bottom right and not thinking twice about it.
Wargear – Imagine if you could play Blessing of Kings, a very good card, as a standalone four mana 4/4 minion. Now you understand why Wargear might be crazy good.
Giggling Inventor – Fuck this card. Seriously. We had somehow managed to purge ourself of Annoy-O-Tron and now all of a sudden it’s back for another fucking year and a half. Except this card makes two of them. And it adds in a 2/1 body for good measure and it shits it all out on the board at once. Fuck this card.
Upgradeable Framebot – If you haven’t gotten my point that low cost mechs with more health than attack are good, then you haven’t read any of this and are therefore not reading this right now. If that’s the case, then whatever I’m typing here doesn’t matter. If you are, then I’m sorry I wasted ten seconds of your time with that non-sequitur.
Missle Launcher – The stats might not quite be there, but cards that persistently do damage to other cards (like Despicable Dreadlord) typically tend to be pretty good. Plus this card has the added benefit of getting Venomizer added to it for a full board clear turn after turn. The 4/4 in stats are troubling and might end up making it trash tier, but I think its effect is strong enough to make it good.
Weaponized Pinata – The tradeoff in stats is worth an effect that might straight away win you the game. Legendary cards, on average, are pretty good. Getting one for free out of this makes it a solid card and one that should get drafted pretty frequently. My most confident prediction? This card will be in a whole lot of Trolden videos.
Augmented Elekk – The effect on this card basically doesn’t matter, but a neutral three mana 3/4 will probably be an auto-draft most of the time if it’s in the correct bucket. We know the arena is all about curve, and this will be one of the best cards for it.
Arcane Dynamo – Would you play a three mana minion that had a battlecry of “Discover a spell that costs 5 or more, this minion dies instantly”? Because that’s basically what arcane dynamo is. It’s got premium stats for a card that costs three less mana than it does. So it’s grossly overcosted for the stats. But I don’t think that’s enough to offset the powerful spells available to some classes that cost more than 5. They’re game winning spells. I think this card is nuts.
Loose Specimen A five mana 6/6 is cheaper is much stronger than it should be, so of course it comes with a downside. But dealing five damage spread among your own minions isn’t all that bad. You can make trades before playing it or play it on an empty board and you avoid the downside. Of course it’s a bad topdeck later in the game when you’re ahead on the board, but no card is perfect. This is pretty strong.
Mechanical Whelp – This is just a big pile of stats. a six mana 9/9 would be the best card in the arena. This is a little slower than that because the whelp needs to die, but a 7/7 hitting the board when it does is no joke.
Spring Rocket – This should be a little more understatted for the effect it gives. Fire Plume Phoenix, which isn’t quite as off base in stats, is one of the best cards in the arena. This isn’t quite as good, but it does line up nicely to be a nice inclusion in any deck.
Mech-a-roo – They re-printed possessed villager, except now it’s a neutral. Great curve filler for any deck.
Kaboom Bot – Again, I don’t think the lack of stats quite line up with the effect of this card. Dealing four damage to a minion is very strong. You pay that much for shadow bolt. And though shadow bolt targets a minion, this is still strong and gives you some kind of body.
Some of these cards will undoubtedly be good and some will undoubtedly be so bad that I look insane for even suggesting they’ll be good. That’s what’s great about reveal season. What’s even better? We’ll know for ourselves soon enough.